The road to nursing wasn’t always smooth for Dan Gordon, a new generation nurse currently employed at Calvary Hospital in Canberra.
“My new graduate year didn’t work out exactly as planned,” he says. “One of my rotations was in private mental health and I didn’t enjoy it at all.”
So much so, he says, that he had to choose between leaving nursing, or moving to a different specialty area. An unexpected position came up in the emergency department (ED) and Dan’s fate was sealed.
“I love it there,” he says of his chosen specialty. “I really like the variety [of working in the ED]; the critical care, the speed, the adrenalin, but most of all, the ED is where you meet people at their most vulnerable. It’s an area of nursing where you see a baby take its first breath, and hold the hand of an old lady as she takes her last breath. It offers so much diversity.”
Dan is a vibrant character within RCNA’s membership and has recently taken on the role of Editor of the new Men and Health National Network. He also travelled to Durban for the ICN Quadrennial Congress last year.
Ask Dan what nursing issues he’s passionate about and he might just tell you that generational tensions between nursing staff is a cause high on his list. “I was attending a conference last year when a comment was made by an older nurse: ‘I have a bunch of Gen Y nurses in my ED and I don’t know what to do with them! They’re lazy and they won’t learn and they won’t listen and they think they know everything!’” he says.
The comment was just one in a long line of accusations that Dan has heard levelled at nurses in his peer group, but he says that the ongoing debate about the role of each generation of nurses overlooks one really important issue.
“Nurses [of all generations] are not in it for the money; they are not in it for their own fame and glory. We are nurses for our patients and this will never change,” Dan says.
“I think that new nurses can work together with the older nurses who have such a wealth of knowledge and experience. Yes, we may have a few different ideas and [generational] work practices may differ, but at the end of the day, we all have one common goal: to care for our patients.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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